Answered By: Jennifer Harris
Last Updated: May 06, 2019     Views: 10184

Yes. You may want to make minor changes to a direct quotation. This is possible (as long as you don't change the meaning), but you must follow these rules (see p. 172-173 of the APA Manual):

  • If you omit parts in the middle of the quotation, use an ellipsis. An ellipsis consists of three dots (...)   
    • For example: the student stated that "the computer lab ... was useful."
  • If you want to insert your own words, or different words, into a quotation, put them in square brackets ( [ ] ). 
    • For example: "The computer lab [in the science building] was well designed."
  • If you want to draw attention to an error in a quotation, for example a spelling mistake or wrong date, don't correct it; write [sic] in square brackets.
  • If you want to emphasis something in a quotation which is particularly relevant to your essay, put the emphasized words in italics, and state that the emphasis is your own. 
    • For example: "The writing tools in Moodle was very [emphasis added] helpful!"

More information:

For further help please contact the Wolak Learning Center at 603.645.9606 (Campus Students) and Online Writing Center at 866.721.1662 (Online Students) for amore information about changing a direct quote in APA Style.

This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please be sure to speak to your professor about the appropriate way to change a direct quote in your class assignments and projects.

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